Cardinal jailed for 6 years for child sex abuse

Cardinal George Pell, who used to help elect popes and run the Vatican’s finances, was on Wednesday sentenced to six years in jail for sexually assaulting two choirboys in a Melbourne cathedral in the mid-1990s, news reports say.

The sentence included a non-parole period of three years and eight months.

Pell denied the allegations and said he would appeal the conviction in June.

One of his victims, who survived years of trauma, said the ruling by Victoria County Court is overshadowed by the cardinal’s forthcoming appeal.

The father of the other victim, who died of heroin overdose, said despite the light sentence to Pell, he was glad to see him jailed.

The two victims of Pell were not named.

The court’s chief judge Peter Kidd said Pell, 77, showed no remorse during the trial. Kidd handed down a lighter punishment to Pell considering his age and health.

He described Pell’s sexual conduct as callous since the archbishop used his power to abuse and silence the two choir boys inside the cathedral.

The boys trusted him but the archbishop, instead of protecting them, abused them. Even when the boys wept, he told them to keep quiet.

The incidents took place after Sunday mass in December 1996 and again in early 1997 at St Patrick’s Cathedral, above.

Pell was forced to step down as Vatican’s economy minister in 2016.

After his conviction in December last year, he was removed as one of the pope’s advisers.

A suppression order issued by the judge had barred media from reporting the trial until late February when the order was lifted after prosecutors decided to drop a second trial against Pell.

That trial involved allegations that Pell sexually abused boys in a public swimming pool in his hometown Ballarat in the 1970s.